Posts Tagged ‘ Rhode Island Audubon ’

Block Island Southwest – New Shoreham

 

Miles from the ferry landings in town, this portion of the island is rarely visited by the everyday tourist. The two properties that make up part of this hike are in nearly pristine condition. The trailhead is unmarked and is in fact at the end of an unnamed road. Turn onto Dickens Road off of Cooneymus Road and follow it south. At the intersection Dickens Road turns to the right. There is a trail to the left. Continue straight passing a house on the right and to the top of the hill. There is just enough room for one car. Across the field to the east is an opening in the stone wall. This is the trailhead. The trail immediately climbs uphill into the Win Dodge Preserve before coming to a trail intersection at the top of the hill. Here I turned right and followed the trail as it winded back downhill. At the next two intersections I stayed to the right. Soon I came to the first of two stone walls with weathered wooden stairs over them. After the second set I turned left following Dickens Road until I reached the trailhead for the Lewis Dickens Farm property owned by the Audubon Society. From here I followed the trail as it winded through fields on rolling hills. (A local who I met compared this part of the island to that of Ireland or Newfoundland). At the end of the trail is a Memorial Rock and just beyond that a towering bluff that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. Exercise extreme caution along this edge. From here I retraced my steps back to Dickens Road passing the weathered stairs over the stone wall that I had came in on. I continued to follow the road to the intersection and then continued straight onto a trail that would lead me back uphill and passing several cellar holes and foundations. At the next intersection I turned right and followed the trail back to the car.

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Dickens Trail

Eppley Refuge – South Kingstown

  • Marion Eppley Wildlife Refuge
  • Dugway Bridge Road, South Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°31’16.37″N, 71°35’17.93″W
  • Last Time Hiked: May 5, 2016
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.5 miles
  • Easy.

 

The Eppley Wildlife Refuge is one of the Audubons largest properties and it is almost untouched. There is good reason for that. The property is not open to the public except for special events and programs. For a list of scheduled events go to the Audubons website and search their calendar. The property offers two loop trails trails, one blazed red, the other blue. After crossing the Queens River on an old rickety bridge the trails wind through areas of tall pines. There is a small unnamed pond along the red trail as well. For this visit I had joined a bird watching group. A list of birds seen or heard on this hike included: white breasted nuthatch, blackpool, northern water thrush, blue jay, sparrow, barn swallow, chickadee, oven bird, mourning dove, pine warbler, and yellow warbler. Great horned and barred owls are also known to be on the property. Please do not visit this property without joining an event.

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Bridge Across The Queens River

Parker Woodland – Coventry/Foster

  • George B. Parker Woodland
  • Maple Valley Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°43’00.3″N 71°41’52.5″W
  • Last Time Hiked: September 28, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 7.1 miles
  • Moderate due to distance with difficult terrain in areas.

 

Parker Woodland is an Audubon Society property that straddles the Coventry/Foster line. The property features two loop trails, one in each town, with a connector trail. There is quite a bit of history on this property as well. Some is well known and some is still unsolved. The hike starts from the main parking area by the nature center on Maple Valley Road. I then preceded to follow the orange blazed trail into the property. This trail meanders downhill passing the first of several stone walls, turns right, and then crosses a series of boardwalks. Then I turned left following the blue blazed trail, through areas of boulders, more stone walls, and an area of pines. I soon reached Biscuit Hill Road. You will probably miss it if you are not looking for it. The road is flanked by stone walls on each side. Apparently, during the American Revolution, a supply wagon overturned here. The wagon was carrying biscuits for the troops, hence giving the name to the road. Immediately after Biscuit Hill Road on the left is a large cellar hole of a farm house. It is part of the Vaughn Farm Site. There is a sign here with a brief description of the site. I then continued along the blue blazed trail traversing through a rather rocky area weaving around ledges. This stretch is about a mile long before coming to a massive boulder where the yellow blazed connector trail is. I then followed the yellow trail mostly uphill as it starting rising above a ravine. Below in the ravine is the Pine Swamp Brook. Be careful along this stretch as the trail is very close to the edge at times. The trail then crosses the brook at a wood bridge. You are now in the Foster parcel of Parker Woodland. The trail then continues uphill a little longer coming to the next loop trail. This loop is also blazed blue. I turned left and followed the trail passing more stone walls before coming to an old farm site with a rather large cellar hole. There is also a sign labeled “Table Rock” for a short spur trail. I followed it to the rock, stopped, and took a short break. I then retraced my steps back to the blue trail continuing to follow it as it crossed Pig Hill Road. This stretch passes a ledge that has evidence that quarrying was done here. The blue blazed trail crosses Pig Hill Road once again and the loop completes at the yellow trail that I came in on. Here I turned left and retraced my steps back to the massive boulder along the Coventry loop. When I reached the boulder I turned left back onto the blue blazed trail. The trail first follows the Pine Swamp Brook before bearing to the right. Then it crosses Biscuit Hill Road, follows the Turkey Meadow Brook, passing the yellow trail intersection, and starts to climb and descend a series of small hills before coming to the cairns. No one knows for sure who built these piles of stones or better yet, what the purpose for them are. There are several suggestions. Some believe they are Native American, others suggest pre-Columbus age explorers using them as markers. Regardless, there are about a dozen or more of them along this stretch. There is also a sign here explaining (or more so suggesting) the history of the cairns. I then continued along the blue trail completing the loop. I turned left onto the orange trail and retraced my steps back to the parking area.

More info & trail map can be found at: Parker Woodland.

Trail Along A Ledge

Trail Along A Ledge

Mysterious Cairn

Mysterious Cairns

This trail was featured in RI Local Magazine – June 2015

Davis Wildlife Refuge – North Kingstown

  • Davis Memorial Wildlife Refuge
  • Davisville Road, North Kingstown, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°37’24.06″N,  71°28’53.38″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 15, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 0.8 miles
  • Easy with some elevation.

This is an Audubon Society property that is nestled between Davisville Road and Route 4 that abuts the Hunt River. There is a small and narrow loop trail here. The entrance is not easily visible from the road unless you are looking for it. The sign is set back a bit. The trail begins at the sign and splits about a hundred feet after it. I followed the more traveled “main/straight” trail first to its end. The trail ends at an electrical tower. I turned left here and walked to the next tower where the return trail begins. I followed that trail back to the split. There are a couple side spurs that lead to the shore of the river. After a few photos I returned to the car.

More info & trail map can be found at: Davis Wildlife Refuge.

Hunt River

Hunt River

Waterman Pond – Coventry

  • Waterman Pond Wildlife Refuge
  • Waterman Hill Road, Coventry, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°43’18.83″N,  71°43’37.65″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 16, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.0 miles
  • Moderate due to seasonal conditions.

 

I suspect during the summer and fall months this would be an easy hike. Today however, after a night of heavy rain, this was a rather a bit of a challenge. The trail starts near the intersection of Plainfield Pike on Waterman Hill Road. It is a very well marked yellow blazed trail. However in the first section most of the trail was more of a stream and could be described as primitive at best. I found myself stepping from rock to rock and log to log to avoid deep areas of ponding. The trail does open up a bit about mid way into the refuge. The pond is visible to the right through the trees. I continued following the trail over a culvert to its end. The trail ends near a small opening with a good view of the pond. The geese here were very vocal about my presence. After taking a few photos I retraced my steps back to the trailhead.

 

I did not find a trail map on-line, however there is a link to the Audubon site.

Residents of Waterman Pond

Residents of Waterman Pond

Powder Mill Ledges – Smithfield

  • Powder Mill Ledges
  • Sanderson Road, Smithfield, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°52’5.84″N,  71°31’50.36″W
  • Last Time Hiked: April 11, 2014
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.7 miles
  • Easy with slight elevation, some rocky footing in areas.

A beautiful spring afternoon in Southern New England. The sun was out and the temperature finally made it into the 60’s. I started this hike from the parking area following the orange trail to the left as it passed through an open field before heading slightly uphill into the woods. There were several birds here. I then turned left onto the blue trail which traversed through an area of thick pine groves. I then turned left onto the yellow connector trail through an area that was quite rocky while passing under some power lines. The trail comes to an access road. The trail continues ahead of you. At the next road I turned left briefly before turning right onto the remainder of yellow trail. In this stretch I came across a snake as well as a deer. The yellow trail eventually crosses the second access road again before coming to the access road by the power lines. At this point I turned left and followed the road under the power lines until I reached the connector trail to the right. At the end of the connector trail I turned left onto the blue trail through more pine groves. I then turned left onto the orange trail following back to the parking area. I stopped in at the headquarters building. Here they have a gift shop with several books about nature and hiking. They also have several turtles and snakes for viewing.

More info & trail map can be found at: Powder Mill Ledges.

Along The Blue Trail

Along The Blue Trail

Lathrop Refuge – Westerly

 
 

One of the smaller Audubon sites in Rhode Island, Lathrop offers a sweeping view of Winnapaug Pond. The trail, which is a cart path, starts at a small parking area along Shore Road. The cart path is flanked by several trees, shrubs, bushes, before entering an area of marsh. Needless to say I saw several birds here. After following the path to its end, I retraced my steps back to the parking area.

I did not find a trail map on-line.

Winnapaug Pond

Winnapaug Pond

Long Pond/Ell Pond – Hopkinton

  • Long Pond-Ell Pond
  • North Road, Hopkinton, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°30’31.80″N, 71°46’43.40″W
  • Last Time Hiked: June 4, 2013
  • Approximate distance hiked: 5.7 miles
  • Strenuous, several areas of climbing, significant elevation.

 

I found another of the most beautiful locations in Rhode Island. The trails on this hike are on abutting Nature Conservancy, Audubon, and State Management properties. Starting from a very small parking area I followed the yellow trail (which is part of the Narragansett Trail) literally climbing over several rocks, boulders, and outcrops at points. At the time of this hike the mountain laurel was just beginning to bloom, which added to the beauty. I reached an intersection with signage for Long Pond, Ell Pond, and Hemlock Forest. I first followed the path to the right (passing the yellow blazed trail) toward Ell Pond. The trail is unblazed and ends near a pine tree with a number 3 sign on it. At this point you can see Ell Pond through the trees. I suspect at one time there was a better view of the pond. I then retraced my steps back to the intersection and followed the path toward Long Pond. The trail, also unblazed, winds up and down and comes to an area of a massive rock cliff. The trail climbs the rock cliff to a truly breathtaking (partly, because I’m out of shape) view of Long Pond. I found myself spending a little time here just taking in what nature has to offer. At this point you are less than a half mile or so from where you started. If you find that this section was difficult I would suggest that you retrace your steps back to the car and make your way to the second parking lot if you choose to hike the less difficult parts. The next section is outright strenuous. Making my way back to the intersection to the yellow trail I was presented with the first challenge; a steep natural rock cleft to scale down. At the bottom of the cleft the trail comes to a boardwalk that crosses a stream then the trail turns left and up a massive hill of rocks and boulders. On the other side is another section of steep decline before climbing yet another large hill. The trail then follows a ridge before a path to the second parking appears on the left.  The yellow blazed trail turns to the right and meanders through areas of mountain laurel and stone walls before coming to a massive area of rock. The trail then continues past Ashville Pond and ends at a third parking area at Stubtown Road. This is the eastern end of the Narragansett Trail that starts in Connecticut. I then followed the road to the left passing a historic house to the left and mill remains to the right before turning left onto Canonchet Road. The long stretch road, mostly uphill and forested passes Ashville Pond once again before heading back to the second parking area. From this point I turned right back onto the yellow blazed trail and through the strenuous hills retracing my steps back to the car. This hike took me just about 5 hours to do due to the terrain. I would suggest a backpack with plenty of water for this hike, particularly on warmer days.

A trail map can be found at: Long Pond/Ell Pond

The Cleft

The Cleft

Long Pond From The Overlook

Long Pond From The Overlook

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Fisherville Brook – Exeter

  • Fisherville Brook Wildlife Preserve
  • Pardon Joslin Road, Exeter, RI
  • Trailhead: 41°35’23.69″N, 71°34’12.92″W
  • First Time Hiked: May 25, 2013
  • Last Time Hiked: May 21, 2020
  • Approximate distance hiked: 1.8 miles
  • Fairly easy with some elevation.

Fisherville Brooks’ parking lot is along Pardon Joslin Road. It is not very accessible from Sunderland Road unless you have a vehicle with some clearance and/or a four by four. There are signs that are posted that read PASS AT OWN RISK. With that said, it is highly recommended getting to Pardon Joslin Road from Widows Sweet Road. For this hike, just under 2 miles, follow the orange blazed trail to the left of the kiosk. The trail immediately climbs uphill, then winds through the wooded southeastern portion of the property passing boulders, stone walls, and streams. The trail then bends to the right offering a view of a large field to the left. Ahead the orange trail meets the blue blazed trail. Turn left here and you soon come to the mill pond and dam with the waterfall. Spend a few moments here, it is a good spot for photos. From here continue ahead making your way through an area of boardwalks in some rather wet areas before the path opened up to a meadow. A short path to the left leads to a historic family cemetery. The grave of John Gardner who had served in the American Revolution is located here. He was born in 1753 and passed in 1837.  After spending some time here make your way back to the blue trail loop. It soon crosses over Fisherville Brook, passes the yellow blazed trail on the left, through a densely wooded area covered with fern, and back to the parking area. If you are looking for up to another mile and half of hiking, pass through the parking area and cross the street. There are two more loop trails there. The red blazed outer loop is 1.4 miles long.

Trail map can be found at: Fisherville Brook (will download PDF)

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The Mill Pond at Fisherville Brook.

Ruecker – Tiverton

Along the shore of the Sakonnet River is where this Audubon property is. It is a short hike with well marked and well maintained paths. There is also an abundance of birds here. Starting from the parking area I followed the yellow trail into the property. I then turned left and followed the blue trail and its loop. There is a bridge crossing here where I snapped a photo of the salt marsh. After completing the blue loop I made my way back to the yellow trail and headed for the yellow loop. I took a quick peek at the field before making my way to the shore near the northern end of the property where I came across several fiddler crabs. In the distance there was an egret. Following the red trail back to the parking area I came across an area of ledge. This is where most of the birds were. The red trail ended at the parking area.  After this hike I decided to head to Fogland Marsh (which is relatively close) to do some additional walking.

More info can be found at: Ruecker

Salt Marsh

Salt Marsh